In my post late yesterday on Rep. Mark Kirk's miniscule property tax bill, I wondered out loud about the drop in his payment from $3,867 in 2003 to $872 in 2004. Here again is the chart showing that decrease: The point of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency'...
In my post late yesterday on Rep. Mark Kirk's miniscule property tax bill, I wondered out loud about the drop in his payment from $3,867 in 2003 to $872 in 2004.
The point of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency's "property tax assessment freeze" program is that it freezes the "assessed valuation" of your home for eight years after you receive a "certificate of rehabilitation" from the agency approving of your rehab plans. The Kirks received their certificate in late 2001. So why would the assessed value of the home have decreased in subsequent years?
Well, I've been looking into the history of Kirk's property and I think I found the answer.
In 1993, the U.S. Army closed the 643-acre Fort Sheridan, which is located on Chicago's North Shore, between the suburbs of Highland Park, Lake Forest, and Highwood. Over the course of the following decade, the land was divvied up and annexed by several of the surrounding communities and a redevelopment of the barracks and other structures began. In 2001, the Kirks purchased what appears to have been an unrenovated property there for $375,000. It being a historical structure that they planned to refurbish, they immediately took steps to enter the "property tax assessment freeze program" and received their "certificate of rehabilitation" from the IHPA on December 28, 2001. Many of their neighbors in Fort Sheridan also entered the program.
But according to the Lake County Assessor's office, after the certificates were doled out for the Fort Dearborn properties, a legal dispute arose over the assessed values of the properties there. Remember, these structures had never before been on the assessor's roles (because they had always been part of the Army base). Furthermore, prior to the renovation, the structures were essentially shells. So the new owners challenged the initial assessments.
It took several years for the dispute to be resolved, but the end result was apparently a drastic reduction in the original assessed value of these converted properties (which is why you see Kirk's tax bill drop in 2004).
Indeed, because of the legal battle and their enrollment in the freeze program, the Kirks are now essentially paying property taxes on only the land and the unrenovated "shell" they originally purchased. Needless to say, it's a pretty sweet deal.
Again, there is nothing at all improper about Kirk benefiting from the tax credit. Many of his neighbors in Fort Dearborn are doing just the same. It's simply something to keep in mind when you look at his record.